Alumni Spotlight: Ashleigh Graham

Ashleigh Graham. May 15th to July 11th. Ashleigh, who is 22, is currently a senior attending the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida. She is a fulltime student studying Economics and Finance. She is originally from the birthplace of NASCAR, Daytona Beach, Florida.

Female Headshot

Why did you decide to go abroad with your provider?

Ashleigh: When I started college, I knew I wanted to study abroad. I heard stories from friends and family about their unforgettable experiences studying abroad. I was ready to pack up my bags at any given moment and go. Learning about a different country’s history and culture has always fascinated me. I could use this internship experience in the workforce, at school, and when meeting new people. The fact that I could intern abroad, working for a company in my field of study was always what I was hoping to do. I knew I would always remember this experience.

What did your provider do for you and what did you need to do on your own?

Ashleigh: When I arrived in Dublin, one of the FIE staff picked everyone up from the airport that was in the program. The FIE staff showed us all around Dublin and told us about the best restaurants, the museums, and the culture. They showed us our student housing and they also took each of us to the companies we would be interning for. The FIE staff really went above and beyond to make sure we were settled in. They planned a couple events throughout the 2 months to check in and to make sure we were adjusting to living in a new city. It was really up to the participants in the program to determine whether we were going make or break our experience in Dublin. I had to learn how to use the local rail tram system and the bus system.

Dublin countryside

What is one piece of advice you'd give future students traveling with your program?

Ashleigh: One piece of advice I would give to future students travelling abroad is to be flexible. That is the most important thing. Some things might not go as planned such as being late because of traffic or trying to navigate around a new city. That is part of the experience. When I was living in Dublin, I had to teach myself how to navigate around the city while trying not to get lost. I had to learn how to use the Luas, which is Dublin’s rail tram system. I became very familiar with reading maps. Being flexible is key when travelling in a group. Everyone wants to see or do something different. Go with the flow, you will be able to do and see most that is on your list.

Describe your program socially and academically.

Ashleigh: The Dublin Internship abroad is not your typical study abroad. I was not taking a class at Trinity college, I was an intern for a local business that FIE thought was the best fit for me due to my major and experience. I worked at a local tax and accountancy company Monday through Thursday from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm. Everyone in the program worked at different companies. After work some of us would meet up on O’Connell Street at a local restaurant and talk about our day. On the weekends, we were free to travel around Ireland or Europe but we just had to let the FIE staff know. I became very close with a couple of people in the program. We travelled all around Ireland together. The people in the program became my family because we all depended on each other and were experiencing an unforgettable summer together.

Galway, Kylemore Abbey

Do you think your program changed you as a person?

Ashleigh: I believe 100% that interning abroad in Dublin has changed me. Before this experience, I was a bit nervous about living in a different country. I have never been away from my friends and family that long. After this experience, I have grown as a person. I am more confident in making decision. I am more flexible about situations. I can use this experience in any aspect of my life such a personal or professional. Not many people get to say they lived in a different country and learned about a different culture. I am very lucky and thankful that I was able to intern abroad. Living in Dublin has allowed me to engage with people from a different cultural background and the opportunity to see the world from a different prospective.